Alameda County fights $8M verdict to family searched near Castro Valley Starbucks
CASTRO VALLEY, Calif. - A pair of Alameda County sheriff's deputies are fighting an $8.25 million verdict awarded to a mother and her daughters whom a federal jury found were the targets of an unconstitutional search outside a Castro Valley Starbucks.
Attorneys Kevin Gilbert and Christopher Creech argued that the award is "excessive" and each of the Loggervale women should receive a total of $150,000 each.
The lawyers also moved for a mistrial. They made their plea in court motions filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on Wednesday.
But that amount is not what the jury awarded the family on March 1.
Specifically, the jury found Alameda County Sheriff's Deputy Steven Holland liable for $2.7 million to mother Aasylei Loggervale and $2 million apiece to her daughters, Aaottae Loggervale, then 17, and Aasyeli Hardege-Loggervale, then 19.
The jury also found Deputy Monica Pope liable for $750,000 to both daughters, and that Alameda County is liable for the actions of its deputies.
Even before the trial, Alameda County offered the Loggervales $700,000 – $250,000 more than they're offering now, according to their attorney, Craig Peters.
"They want to control everything," Peters said on Thursday. "The courtroom is the one place left in America where by and large the playing field is leveled. This is where the powerful can be held accountable. And there's nothing they hate more."
Peters said that the jury settled on the right amount after hearing all the evidence.
"Our citizens believed the Constitution is important," Peters said.
WATCH: Deputies detain Black mother, daughters at Castro Valley Starbucks
The battle over the payout to the Loggervales stems from what happened on Sept. 20, 2019.
That's when mother Aasylei Loggervale, who is a tax preparer, and her two daughters were sitting in their rented Cadillac outside of Starbucks in Castro Valley.
The trio, all of whom are Black, were at the end of their drive from Nevada.
They were parked in a disabled spot, and were at the coffee shop early to take Aasylei Hardge-Loggervale to a statistics test in Berkeley on time. She was attending community college and was planning on transferring her credits to UCLA.
Holland and Pope, who have since been promoted to sergeants, were on patrol at the time and approached the rented Cadillac.
MORE: Jury awards $8.25M to Black mother, daughters handcuffed outside Castro Valley Starbucks
They told the Loggervale family that they were investigating car burglaries committed by unidentified Black men.
At first, the Loggervales thought they were being warned about the break-ins and they were grateful.
But that feeling quickly soured when the deputies began questioning the mother about whether she was legally able to park in a disabled spot, despite her having a visible placard in her car window.
The deputies also demanded to see the elder Loggervale's identification, which she declined to provide.
Still, the deputies arrested the women, put them in the back of their patrol car and searched their trunk.
The deputies placed the family in the back of the patrol car, where they were held for about 70 minutes.
Eventually, the family was let go. None was charged with any crime.
An Internal Affairs investigation found that the deputies did nothing wrong.
But the jury found that the search and detention were unconstitutional. Under the 4th Amendment, citizens have the right to be free from unreasonable searches, which includes being asked for ID if an officer can't articulate that a person has committed a crime.
Yet in their court motion filed this week, the attorneys continue to argue that Holland and Pope had "unquestionable reason" to search their car because of the string of auto burglaries in the area.
The attorneys wrote that the jury award is not commensurate with an "incident lasting just over an hour and which did not result in any physical injuries."
A court hearing is scheduled on May 11 before U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup.
Lisa Fernandez is a reporter for KTVU. Email Lisa at email@example.com or call her at 510-874-0139. Or follow her on Twitter @ljfernandez.